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Case study: Custlaw based landforest conflict resolutions in Long Lan village, Luang Prabang, Laos
 

Case study: Custlaw based landforest conflict resolutions in Long Lan village, Luang Prabang, Laos

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Land conflicts take place in many places due to land loss faced by people, especially farmers with various forms of pressures. Such programs as modernization, industrialization and urbanization tend ...

Land conflicts take place in many places due to land loss faced by people, especially farmers with various forms of pressures. Such programs as modernization, industrialization and urbanization tend to transfer fertile agricultural land attaching high profitability and commercial possibility to other purposes. The needs for more land for modern, large-scale food production are encouraged by technocrats as the way to meet growing consumer demand. Under pressure of attracting resources for industrialization from political power and monetary power, many farmers in developing countries are forced to move from their ancestor land and lose the land to the hands of investors and transnational companies. Shortage of land to live, lack of transparency, and overlapping of ownership of land, forests and natural resources or land use rights are among the hottest constrains causing conflicts over land.

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    Case study: Custlaw based landforest conflict resolutions in Long Lan village, Luang Prabang, Laos Case study: Custlaw based landforest conflict resolutions in Long Lan village, Luang Prabang, Laos Document Transcript

    • Customary law-based forestland conflict resolution Case study of Nhakhaluang – Longngau areas of Densavang and Phonsavat villages, Luang Prabang district, Luang Prabang province, Lao PDRIntroductionLand conflicts take place in many places due to land loss faced by people, especially farmerswith various forms of pressures. Such programs as modernization, industrialization andurbanization tend to transfer fertile agricultural land attaching high profitability andcommercial possibility to other purposes. The needs for more land for modern, large-scalefood production are encouraged by technocrats as the way to meet growing consumerdemand. Under pressure of attracting resources for industrialization from political power andmonetary power, many farmers in developing countries are forced to move from theirancestor land and lose the land to the hands of investors and transnational companies.Shortage of land to live, lack of transparency, and overlapping of ownership of land, forestsand natural resources or land use rights are among the hottest constrains causing conflictsover land.In Laos, great changes in forestland use and managementtogether with the alternative trade-off between conservationor changes has been taking place during the last 40 years.Before the independence day (2nd December1975) highlandethnic communities used to practice traditional farming andlifestyle, they were free to select suitable sites for settlingvillages, housing and farming. Since the independence untilthe 1980s the new Lao State set a top priority to strengthenstate power, stabilize peoples lives and ensure foodsecurity. There was experiment of new types of production Liengphiho worshipping place,and new production relations, the establishment of Densavang village, October 2009cooperatives, state-owned companies following theideology and a legal system which emphasizes publicownership and centralized management. However traditional customs, relationships andbehaviors profoundly exist and have a great significance in reality. For example, one mayofficially says that: you should remove the cumbersome superstitions and backward customs,but in fact that person could not ignore the traditional practices such as ceremonies for landselection for housing, farming or such spiritual rituals as worship of nature, ancestors, etc. Inother words, the officially announced objectives, policies and laws have a significant gapwith real traditional thoughts and behavior of the majority of government officials andcitizens.The gap between practice and policies continued, even became greater in the laterdevelopment programs, such as resettlement programs and opium poppy elimination (starting1995), or program of resettlement, merging large development villages (since 2004), andApproach to customary law-based forestland conflict resolution Page 1
    • most recently, investment encouragement and land marketization. State objectives often puteconomic growth first, with the appreciation of the monetary value of land and its tools suchas land price, tax, and land management in conjunction with legal land certificates. In reality,practice of forest land values relating to community spirits, humanity and spiritual values arestill indispensable needs and habits of many communities and each members. When the LaoLoum attend a religious ceremony of Buottonmay (tree ordination), the Kho Mu haveLiengphiho (village forest spirits) ceremony, the H’mong carry out Tongsenh (Big tree orrock worshipping) ceremony, ritual Suca, Thuti, then surely they do not simply think of themonetary value of the forest land, but more importantly they entrench the implication of thefaith in natural spirits and the harmony between human and nature.Conflict over land is inevitably resulted from differences in the perception of values, theapproach and behaviour towards land and forests, the mode of management and use of land.Such programs as opium poppy elimination, resettlement, village merger, or projects (eg. EUsupport to grant white or golden land certificates to turn the land into goods) did notsufficiently take into account the values of land in terms of community culture andlivelihoods security. These programs could achieve specific goals for increasing revenues,changes of production to ensure political security in a certain period. But they could notsoundly assure the objectives, the needs of communities and individual citizens relating totheir survival space, and space to practice religious values and cultural identity. For instance,despite of resettling tens of kilometers far away fromtheir ancestor land, but a group of H’mong people alwayswant to come back to take care of and conductceremonies for ancestral graves and the sacred Tongsenhforest. Besides, new resettled place has not enough landfor cultivation, so people reasonably return to the oldvillage for livestock farming and practice of traditionalrituals. On the other hand, people of the new mergedvillage based on administrative boundaries to identifytheir land-use rights. The overlap between the traditionaland the official land boundaries is a typical cause of the Nhakhaluang area, where liveconflicts. The conflict becomes more intense as H’mong villagers from Nasamphanpopulation density increases, a shortage of land is village, October 2011intensified, and especially the monetary value of the landis promoted along with the ability of land certificates for mortgage and guarantee.Sharing awareness and experience in dealing with land conflicts has a great practicalsignificance for not only Laos but also other developing countries with similar socialexistence. The case of forestland conflict resolution at Nhakhaluang – Longngau areasbetween villages of Densavang, Phonsavat and some Nasamphan villagers, Luang Prabangdistrict/ province in Laos is not just an extraordinary case, it should be represented for othernumerous similar cases.With the advice of CHESH Lao, the active involvement of district and provincial authorities,the Advisory board for forestland conflict resolution, the Luang Prabang H’mong association,the village elders, and key farmers, the long-lasting forestland conflict has been resolved in2010. This is an essential condition for the involved communities to continue their plans andorientations for future development in a confident and stable manner.Approach to customary law-based forestland conflict resolution Page 2
    • This article summarizes the process of forest land conflict resolution in Nhakhaluang-Longngau areas of Densavang and Phonsavat villages, Luang Prabang district/ province,Laos. The article is a document for the workshop "Customary law-based Forestland conflictresolution" held by CHESH Lao at the venue of Luang Prabang Provincial Agriculture andForestry Office (PAFO) from 4th April to 6th April 2012. The shared experiences of conflictresolution from this specific case would not only be an opportunity for policy makers,scientists, the media understand the practices and share their own vision, but also would helplocal officials, development workers, and community representatives to obtain experiences toapply into their own practice.Causes and consequences of the forestland conflictConsidering systematically in the wide range, some issues mentioned in the Introduction partare also the underlying causes of the forest land conflict in Densavang and Phonsavatvillages. Specifically in this case, the problem stemmed from the resettlement and villagemerging program since 1995. The H’mong in the former Longngau village were required tomerge into Phonsavat village while people in the former Nhakhaluang village merge intoDensavang village. In both Densavang and Phonsavat villages there had been Kho Mu peopleliving a stable life since 1975. Resettlement and merger of villages experienced top-downapproach, lack of participation, discussion, consensus, and decision of the resettledcommunities. The demand for arable land and access to forest resources was not calculatedthoroughly for people to live a stable life in the new villages for both short and long terms.On the other hand the village merger program did not incorporate solutions for satisfying thereasonable needs of worship for the spirits of the forest, land, and the ancestors as well as thetraditional festivals of the resettled community.Because the H’mong of the former villages ofNhakhaluang and Longngau did not like merging asrequired by the resettlement program, so they moved tolive in Nasamphan (a village nearby northern bus stationof Luang Prabang town, around 20 km far from theirformer villages). They had to sell out cattles and changetheir occupations, the men involved in transportationservices, and the women did weaving and sellinghandicraft products. Because many people migrated intothe town in the same period, there was no more work, Longngau area, where some H’mongand the new jobs could not guarantee well their life. from Nasamphan live, January 2010Despite the migration to live in Nasamphan, someH’mong people maintained strong memory of their former ancestor land and forest. So theykept coming back to worship ancestors in the forest and Tongsenh forest spirits inNhakhaluang and Longngau areas. In 2004 some H’mong households of Nasamphan villageobtained the district authority decision to allocated an area of 200 hectares of pasture land ofHuoinok watershed (within the administrative boundaries of Phonsavat) and 100 ha inNhakhaluang area (administratively belongs to Densavang). Nevertheless they did not knowto where exactly the boundaries were, and they claimed that the district authority had offerredand allocated all the land of the former villages of Nhakhaluang and Longngau to someNasamphan households. Because the Nasamphan villagers used land as the way they thought,Phonsavat and Densavang villagers face shortage of land for cultivation, animal husbandry,and watershed protection forests. Conflicts occurred when Nasamphan people claimed thatthey had the right to hold the entire ancestor forest and land of the former villages. TheApproach to customary law-based forestland conflict resolution Page 3
    • H’mong of Nasamphan prevented the Kho Mu people of Densavang and Phonsavat villagesfrom clearing forests for farm land on which their ancestors had lived and preserved. Theymade fences to cover grazing areas beyond Huoinok watershed, a major source of clean waterfor Phonsavat villagers. Simultaneously the villagers of Phonsavat and Densavang based onthe administrative decisions of village merger to confirm their village boundaries, andrequested the H’mong of Nasamphan to return administrative land to the local village. Theconflict even culminated when the H’mong of Nasamphan have clashed with villagers ofPhonsavat and Densavang.From 2003 until 2009 district officers have many times solved the forest land disputebetween some Nasamphan households and Densavang, Phonsavat villages but failed becausethe parties fail could not obtain a solution. Conflict between villages, between H’mong withKho Mu and conflict among H’mong people continued. So all the involved people did nothave peace of mind for stable life and production because they could not clarify theboundaries of productive land, forest land of their village and their own households. Forestowners were not well defined, so forests clearance for cultivation continuously existed.Huoinok watershed was not protected well, leading to reduction of water source, thenPhonsavat villagers suffered from water shortage, especially in dry season. So if this disputewas not adequately solved the concerned people would not stabilize their life and production,their forest and environment would be continuously degraded, ethnic conflicts would beunder threat to burst out.Approach to conflict resolution SPERI/ CHESH Lao conducted a Needs assessment study (NAS) at the two villages of Densavang, Phonsavat, those among the poorest in Luang Prabang district in October 2009. Study of cultural identities of Kho Mu and H’mong communities was also conducted during this trip. Thereby CHESH Lao understood that although the H’mong as well as Kho Mu community had been facing many difficulties, they had preserved their Meeting between district leaders and traditional beliefs, customary laws and cultural the Advisory board, December 2009 practices. The Kho Mu have Liengphiho rituals, such sacred forests as Phuphakhao, Phuphano, and suchabstinence days as Muhuong, Muhoai. The H’mong has rituals associated with the Tongsenhforest spirits and their ancestry spirits. Their cultural and spiritual values should be respectedand preserved in order to promote community solidarity,so as people are confident in integration and development.Besides the difficulties related to lack of water, sanitationproblems, the challenging undermining of traditionalcultural values, the landless and land disputes between thetwo villages and some Nasamphan households wereidentified the hottest issue, which need to be prioritized asa key to open the way for the future communitydevelopment plan.CHESH Lao held discussions with representatives of the Field trip to observe the disputeconflicting parties and Luang Prabang district leaders, and forest land, January 27th 2010established an advisory board for forestland conflictresolution. The board included elder Lypao Lau (formerApproach to customary law-based forestland conflict resolution Page 4
    • chairperson of H’mong association), Mr. Saysualy Ho (who is now chairperson of H’mongassociation), elder Somlit (Siengda village), elder Saykhu Zang (Longlan village), andrepresentatives of district authorities. CHESH Lao, Advisory board, H’mong leaders holdmeeting with officials of the district Agriculture and Forestry office to discuss and decidethat they should firstly identify to understand the causes and process of the conflict, then findout suitable solution for the dispute. So the Advisory board organized field trips to searchnecesssary information at relevant villages. The H’mong association leaders found out howthe conflict involvers think, want, and suggest. H’mong leaders met to talk with people toincourage solidarity and reconcile the stressful conflict.In December 2009, the H’mong association collaborated with CHESH Lao to work withDensavang and Phonsavat villages to listen to the opinions of the villagers and leaders, andfound conflicting forest land is the most difficult and notably issues. Mr. Saysualy Ho wasboth a H’mong association leader, and the head of Nasamphan village identified forest landconflicts between some Nasamphan households and Densavang, Phonsavat villages should beput top priority to address and resolve.When the problem was identified, then a meeting was heldfor different parties to come together to survey forest landin reality. During the survey trip the Advisory boardmembers found that both conflicting parties did not like totalk to each other, Nasamphan people kept knives, whileDensavang security guards carried guns. An unsuitablequestion was raised at the inherent stressful disputeboundary before, making both sides feel more intense.Then elder Somlit (a member of the advisory board) sang asong and tried a humorous roleplay to help cool down the Meeting at Densavang village afterstress. H’mong leaders reminded the parties to remain field survey, Janary 28th, 2010calm, not cause any more stress. Advisory board decidednot to ask the involved parties any more sensitivequestions about the boundaries and the disputes, and stop the survey. Advisory board proposed and involved in a study tour on community management and forest land management to villages of Long Lan, Siengda and Namkha for the conflicting parties. After the field survey at the conflicting area and the study tour in Laos, the Advisory Board worked with the district department of Agriculture and Forestry to propose five points to guide the conflict resolution: 1. Suggest to respect and allocate Tongsenh forest Study tour to Lao Cai province, areas for H’mong people from Nasamphan, to create Vietnam, May 22nd , 2010 favourable conditions to maintain their identity and simultaneously protect watershed according to their customary law. 2. Allow Nasamphan people together with Phonsavat, Densavang villagers to promote livestock under the authorized planning and licensing. 3. Propose to facilitate Phonsavat and Densavang villagers to manage and protect land and forest areas according to the provisions of the state and the identified official boundaries.Approach to customary law-based forestland conflict resolution Page 5
    • 4. Facilitate the three relevant villages to work together to set up regulations on management and development of Nhakhaluang and Longngau areas, to set up planning of these area as forests for protection of water sources, and to prohibit cutting trees, cultivating, or grazing in the watershed forests. 5. Create opportunities and favourable conditions for people of the three villages to strengthen solidarity with each other, and keep unity during and after the conflict resolution process.After the study tour to Long Lan, Namkha, and Siengdavillages the conflicting parties did not agree with thesolutions suggested by the Advisory Board. On theother hand, if only learning experiences in forestmanagement, the participants could not yet see thedifficulties and solutions for the shortage of forestresources. So the Advisory board recommended toorganize a study tour to Vietnam for the representativesof the three villages to see burning issues of soilerosion, deforestation, and solutions for that. The goalof the tour was not just to to share and learn other A meeting between the Advisoryissues in Vietnam, but also to ensure solidarity and board and technical staffreduce constraints. The H’mong leaders and advisoryboard facilitated the participants during the study tour,and helped them to understand the needs to work together for resource management, as wellas to stop prolong the conflict. Going and sharing together also helped participants to reducestress and strengthen solidarity. On the basis of understanding practical aspects of the conflict, the Advisory board and the H’mong association leaders gave advice and encouragement to leaders and people of Densavang, Phonsavat villages and the related Nasamphan households to keep solidarity and dialogue with each other. After the formal and informal discussions with related parties to find common ground, the Advisory board held a meeting on July 12th , 2010 to review and specify the following solutions: 1) Suggest to allocate 300 ha of land to the On-field survey to clarify boundaries group of Nasamphan households (100 ha in and locations of land and forest Nhakhaluang area and 200 ha in Longngau area) as zoning decided by the old decision of Luang Prabang districtauthority dated February 10th , 2004. The Nasamphan households only raise animal, notcultivate, not cut trees, not build up permanent houses in this area. 2) Recommend to allocateabout 250 ha of Tongsenh sacred forests to Nasamphan villagers. 3) The remaining 400hectares of forest land belonging to Phuphakhoi, Huoinok watershed become watershedprotection forests managed by the district authority. Villagers are not allow to cultivate or cutdown trees there.Technical advice of the district officials was combined with experience in traditions-basedconflict resolution of H’mong Association. The district officials have jointly organizedtraining on land law, law on forest protection for villagers to help them better understandingof their responsibilities and rights in management, protection and use of forest land. With themembers’ experience, Advisory Board, the H’mong Association leaders cooperated withApproach to customary law-based forestland conflict resolution Page 6
    • CHESH Lao to facilitate village meeting discussions and field trips to find out how to shareand clarify the boundaries at the field. The the district agriculture and forestry departmentconducted field survey to clarify the boundaries of each villages, to classify forest areas,breeding areas, farming areas to put into the maps of forest land planning.H’mong Association leaders and the Advisory Board held meeting to inform and discusssolutions with the Nasamphan representatives and leaders, representatives of the villages ofDensavang and Phonsavat. Densavang and Phonsavat representatives agreed with solutionsof the Advisory Board. Only Nasamphan representatives suggested to be given a breedingarea of Phaso mountain from Long Lan village, and then elder Saykhu Zang and therepresentatives of Long Lan village agreed with the conditions that: the Nasamphanhouseholds must abide by the regulations of grazing of Long Lan village. Thus the conflictparties have gradually reduced differences and conflicts, and come to the agreement. Thenthe representatives the involved villages wrote down and certified on the agreement,commitment for the conflict resolution.On the basis of minutes of meetings and commitmentdocuments of each village, the Advisory Board revisedthe proposed solutions and collective commitment ofthe parties to request the district chairman to certify andenact the final decision on the conflict, which had beensolved in practice. On December 7th , 2010 LuangPrabang district chairman issued Decision No. 556 withthe main contents as follows: 1) Agree to allow theNasamphan animal raising group to raise animals atNhakhaluang – Longngau areas in accordance with theagricultural regulations; 2) Agree the Nasamphan Nasamphan representative signedanimal raising group to manage and protect forests at commitement on the agreement ofNhakhaluang - Longngau areas according to their conflict resolutioncustomary practices, and the provisions of the districtagriculture and forestry department (do not cut down trees, not cultivate, not build houses,not set fire); 3) The district Agriculture and forestry department cooperate with villagers ofDensavang, Phonsavat, and Nasamphan, with the expert advice of CHESH Lao to conductland planning for the land areas beyond the animal raising areas in accordance with theprovisions of Lao forestry Law; and 4) Agree with the land planning, in which Phakhoi -Nhakhaluang, Thamuot - Longngau become watershed protection forests. Thus thegovernment authoritys decision comes from the consensus of the conflict parties, then all ofthem should respect to implement. After the on-field survey to determine land boundaries by the Advisory board and representatives of the two villages of Densavang, Phonsavat, CHESH Lao and the Advisory Board informed all surrounding villages to discuss and identify the boundaries together. In determining the boundaries between Densavang, Phonsavat and the surrounding villages, the Advisory board found no conflicts or disputes. There was only a question arised between the parties: where should the outsiders who bought and were using land of Densavang and Phonsavat village pay tax to? It is reasonable that Handling topographic map in Densavang village, March 2012 the land users should pay taxes to the head of the village containing the used land, not to the head of theApproach to customary law-based forestland conflict resolution Page 7
    • residential village. The Advisory board explained land use obligations, including tax paymentto all participants, and they accepted that ideas.After settling the disputes with the Nasamphan households and outsiders who purchased andused Densavang and Phonsavat land, the Advisory Board facilitated the two villages to set upcommunity regulations on natural resource management. Firstly, elders and village leadersset up the draft regulations, then held village meeting to get consultation and contributionfrom all villagers during February 2011. Then, the draft regulations were sent to districtleaders and other professional departments for their review and comments to revise the draftfrom March to October 2011. Finally Luang Prabang district chairman have certifiedregulations on community management and use of natural resources for the two villages ofPhonsavat and Densavang on November 15th , 2011. Simultaneously with the building up ofthe regulations, the zoning maps of land, together with a summary of the regulations on forestand natural resource use and management have been completed and placed in each villages,so as to help villagers easily identify and implement. Regulations are made multiple copies,and disseminated to all Densavang and Phonsavat households, the related land users andsurrounding villages for their acknowledgement and implementation of the regulations.Outcomes and impactsBy 2012 the total natural area of 1,327 ha of Densavangvillage and 1,367 ha of Phonsavat village were plannedwith clear identification of protection forests,preservation forests, production forests, cultivation land,grazing land, and construction land. Regulations formanagement of each types of land and forests have beenbuilt and certified by the district authorities, in wich thelocation, the areas, the legitimate activities, prohibitions,the forms of treatment against violations was clarifiedfor each type of forest land. Traditional customary lawwas recognized and reflected in these Regulations, as Vice district chairman handlingthe basis for villagers of the two village to use soundly certified community regulations toand manage their resources effectively, while villagers, March 2012contributing to protect forests and ecologicalenvironment in the upstream region of Luang Prabang. With a significant role and active contribution to the conflict resolution process as well as the promotion of mutual helps inside and outside the Association while preserving cultural identity and solidarity among peoples, the Luang Prabang district H’mong Association have been recognized and encouraged by the provincial and district government authorities. Moreover, the provincial leaders suggested Luang Prabang district H’mong association to disseminate their experiences to other H’mong groups in other districts to apply and replicate. Maps with boudaries and summarized regulations in Phonsavat village, On the recognition of the experience and capabilities of February 2012 CHESH Lao, in January 2012 Luang Prabang district leaders proposed CHESH Lao to provide advice andApproach to customary law-based forestland conflict resolution Page 8
    • support to solve problems related to forest land between the resettlement villages in thewatershed of Kuangsi waterfall, a famous tourist attractive resort in the province.Lessons learntTo understand causes of the conflict, from which to find the correct solution, a certaindevelopment agency should start with a study to learn community to understand culturalvalues, to explore their real feelings and aspirations and substantial needs. Understanding thecultural values also help outsiders learn to respect beliefs, customs, and enable to integrateand improve their work with the community.Combining between administration and communityorganizations: in this forest land conflict resolutioncase, the Advisory board for forest land conflictresolution was established as an interim mechanism,involving representatives of district authorities, theH’mong Association, the relevant village leaders andelders having experiences in working with CHESH Laocommunity development activities. During the conflictresolution process, it was essential to establish andstrengthen close linkage between government officials,technical staff with village elders and reputable key Workshop preparing for Needpersons in the community. Government officials Assessment Study, October 2009supported legal procedures, necessary decisions to helpthe parties understand and apply the law into practice.Professional staff assisted to survey and recognize location, boundaries to calculate forsetting up the map of land use planning. The village elders helped find out actual thinking,aspirations of the conflicting parties, set forth the proposed compromising solutions betweenthe parties, while ensuring combination between legality (state law) with reasonableness(customs and aspirations of the involved sides). With their prestige and practical experience,village elders can detect actively reconcile for reducing the burning constraint of the parties.The village heads coordinated activities at their villages and worked as a bridge between theAdvisory board, CHESH Lao and the localities. Combining state laws with customary law: If an administrative decision is enacted on the basis of law when the conflict parties have not attained consensus, it is likely to transfer from this type of dispute or conflict to other forms, that means the conflicts are not solved radically. Meanwhile ordinary people understand well and consciously abide by their community customs. So we need to learn, understand and promote good customs, available customary law provisions in the community, to find out common ground and mutual Working with villagers during Need support between customary law and state law. Assessment Study, October 2009 Whenever the boundaries, the type of forest land use planning was identified, then the setting up of regulations should also start from the draft by villageelders and the community, on the basis of the inherent traditions relating to sacred forests andApproach to customary law-based forestland conflict resolution Page 9
    • traditional land. We could see clearly the similarities and mutual support between thecustomary practices on sacred forest with the state requirements on preservation forests andprotection forests. And that is the foundation for the possibility to integrate customary lawwith state law. The collection of comments and approval with signatures and seals of thedistrict authorities is necessary to ensure customary laws or community regulations to beenforced effectively not only within community, but also with outsiders.Being persistent, flexible with many alternative solutions for the community to choose: Theconflict resolution process has witnessed a standstill at a certain period of time, which wasseemingly insurmountable, especially after the introduction of the five recommendations bythe Advisory board, but that was not approved by the Nasamphan households. However theAdvisory board and CHESH Laos have persisted to find various ways and different multi-dimensional interventions. That was the organization of the study tour to Vietnam with a goalof strengthening mutual understanding and solidarity between different ethnic groups or thedisputing parties. Other possitive activities should be noted, i.e. the training on state law toexplain the harmful effects of conflict and the necessity of compromise to reach consensus,and then the provision of concrete solutions to help the disputing parties themselves lookback themselves and choose the better solution.RecommendationsTo limit forest land disputes, the development programs, the resettlement program shouldminimize the relocation, therefore maintain peaceful life of the community.In the case of unavoidable resettlement, it is essential to ensure sufficient arable land, forestland for the resettlement community. It is necessary to study thoroughly and respect feelings,aspirations, lifestyle and encourage traditional farming experience and appropriatecommunity management and use of resources. On the other hand an adequate space forcultural activities, spiritual ritual practice, and traditional belief of the impacted communitiesshould be ensured.Approach to customary law-based forestland conflict resolution Page 10
    • AnnexesAnnex 1: Timeline and events # Time Events1. 1995 The H’mong from former villages of Nhakhaluang, Longngau merged into Densavang, Phonsavat villages according to resettlement order. Most of them migrated to Nasamphan village.2. 2003 to Some H’mong households from Nasamphan village return to raise 2004 animals in Nhakhaluang and Longngau areas with the district authority land allocation decision dated February 10th , 2004.3. 2003 to Forest land conflict between some households from Nasamphan and 2009 villages of Densavang, Phonsavat. District authorities have solved the conflict many times, but have not succeeded.4. October Workshop on ‘Community based watershed management’ and Need 2009 Assessment Study (NAS) in Densavang and Phonsavat villages; cultural study and identification of land conflict as the first urgent issue.5. November The Advisory board was established with 15 members and operation 2009 regulation. Elder Xaykhu Zang was selected as the head of the board.6. Jan 7th to The Advisory board held a study tour for conflict-involved villagers of 11th , 2010 Densavang, Phonsavat, Nasamphan to visit villages of Long Lan, Xiengda and Namkha. Participants understand more about CHESH Lao approach and improve mutual understanding and solidarity.7. Jan 12th & The Advisory board held meetings with villagers of Densavang, 13th , 2010 Phonsavat, Nasamphan, to set up their own plan for conflict resolution.8. Jan 14th & The Advisory board research related profile to clarity causes and process 15th , 2010 of the forest land conflict.9. Jan 26th to 43 participants involved in field trip to survey the dispute areas of 28th, 2010 Nhakhaluang and Longngau.10. Feb 1st and The Advisory board reviewed activities and suggested five points for 2nd, 2010 conflict resolution to summit to district authority.11. Feb 4th and The Advisory board held meeting at different villages to inform and 5th , 2010 discuss on the suggestions of conflict resolution.12. February Meeting between the Advisory board and district leaders. 12th , 201013. February Meeting and sharing between the Advisory board and representatives of 15th , 2010 Densavang and Phonsavat villages.14. February Meeting and sharing between the Advisory board and representatives of 16th , 2010 Nasamphan village. Nasamphan representative did not agree with the Advisory board and introduced their own suggestions.15. February The Advisory board reviewed activities and found new solutions for theApproach to customary law-based forestland conflict resolution Page 11
    • 18th , 2010 deadlock.16. April and Held a study tour on natural resource management for 29 villagers and May 2010 community leaders to Vietnam.17. July 2010 Completed and suggested new specific suggestions of Nhakhaluang – Longngau conflict resolution to Luang Prabang district chairman.18. September Provided training on land law, law on forest protection, law on 2010 agriculture, and policies of Luang Prabang province for villagers of Densavang, Phonsavat and Nasamphan.19. October Survey and improve the drinking water systems of Densavang and 2010 Phonsavat villages.20. December Luang Prabang district chairman enacted Decision No. 556, base on the 7th , 2010 suggestions of the Advisory board to settle the conflict.21. December Advisory board held meeting with the three involved villages. 2010 On-field land allocation to villages of Densavang, Phonsavat, and Nasamphan.22. January On-field clarification of boundaries of Densavang, Phonsavat and the 2011 surrounding villages.23. February Held land use planning on field and on the maps in Densavang, 2011 Phonsavat villages. Elders based on their traditional customs to write draft regulations on management and use of each types land land, then held village meeting to discuss and approve the draft regulations.24. March to The draft regulations were sent to district Agriculture and forestry Oct 2011 department, district chairman and surrounding villages for consideration and contribution.25. October Held meeting with outsiders having land in Densavang, Phonsavat 2011 villages to discuss on the draft regulations.26. November Luang Prabang district chairman signed and recognized the community 15th , 2011 regulations of Densavang and Phonsavat villages.27. January Set up boards of land planning and summarized regulations in 2012 Densavang and Phonsavat villages. Complete topographic maps of the two villages.28. March 2012 Organized ceremony to declare the certified regulations on natural resource management in Densavang and Phonsavat villages. Informed to surrounding villages and the people, who use land on the two villages.Approach to customary law-based forestland conflict resolution Page 12
    • Annex 2: Map of conflict areas of Nhakhaluang – Longngau, Luang Prabang district/province, Lao PDR Densavang village Long Lan village Phonsavat villageApproach to customary law-based forestland conflict resolution Page 13
    • Annex 3. Land use statistics of Densavang & Phonsavat villages, 2011 # Items Densavang village Phonsavat village No. of plots Area (ha) No. of plots Area (ha) Total natural area (ha) 1.327 1.367 I Agricultural land 107 335,01 83 338.81 1 Stable rotational field 29 88,34 14 128,78 (having land certificates) 2 Rice field 29 18,64 14 7,39 3 Fruit trees 11 3,06 4 Gardening 46 29,78 40 33,87 5 Grazing land 3 130,62 4 155 6 Industrial trees 67,63 10.71 II Forests 9 978,8 13 1.017 1 Protection forests 4 162,8 8 354 2 Preservation forests 1 656 2 603 3 Production forests 4 160 3 60 III Construction land 4,0 3,08 IV Other types of land 4 9,19 4 7,39Approach to customary law-based forestland conflict resolution Page 14
    • Annex 3. Land use statistics of Densavang & Phonsavat villages, 2011 # Items Densavang village Phonsavat village No. of plots Area (ha) No. of plots Area (ha) Total natural area (ha) 1.327 1.367 I Agricultural land 107 335,01 83 338.81 1 Stable rotational field 29 88,34 14 128,78 (having land certificates) 2 Rice field 29 18,64 14 7,39 3 Fruit trees 11 3,06 4 Gardening 46 29,78 40 33,87 5 Grazing land 3 130,62 4 155 6 Industrial trees 67,63 10.71 II Forests 9 978,8 13 1.017 1 Protection forests 4 162,8 8 354 2 Preservation forests 1 656 2 603 3 Production forests 4 160 3 60 III Construction land 4,0 3,08 IV Other types of land 4 9,19 4 7,39Approach to customary law-based forestland conflict resolution Page 14
    • Annex 3. Land use statistics of Densavang & Phonsavat villages, 2011 # Items Densavang village Phonsavat village No. of plots Area (ha) No. of plots Area (ha) Total natural area (ha) 1.327 1.367 I Agricultural land 107 335,01 83 338.81 1 Stable rotational field 29 88,34 14 128,78 (having land certificates) 2 Rice field 29 18,64 14 7,39 3 Fruit trees 11 3,06 4 Gardening 46 29,78 40 33,87 5 Grazing land 3 130,62 4 155 6 Industrial trees 67,63 10.71 II Forests 9 978,8 13 1.017 1 Protection forests 4 162,8 8 354 2 Preservation forests 1 656 2 603 3 Production forests 4 160 3 60 III Construction land 4,0 3,08 IV Other types of land 4 9,19 4 7,39Approach to customary law-based forestland conflict resolution Page 14
    • Annex 3. Land use statistics of Densavang & Phonsavat villages, 2011 # Items Densavang village Phonsavat village No. of plots Area (ha) No. of plots Area (ha) Total natural area (ha) 1.327 1.367 I Agricultural land 107 335,01 83 338.81 1 Stable rotational field 29 88,34 14 128,78 (having land certificates) 2 Rice field 29 18,64 14 7,39 3 Fruit trees 11 3,06 4 Gardening 46 29,78 40 33,87 5 Grazing land 3 130,62 4 155 6 Industrial trees 67,63 10.71 II Forests 9 978,8 13 1.017 1 Protection forests 4 162,8 8 354 2 Preservation forests 1 656 2 603 3 Production forests 4 160 3 60 III Construction land 4,0 3,08 IV Other types of land 4 9,19 4 7,39Approach to customary law-based forestland conflict resolution Page 14